Published from Mumbai, Delhi & Bhopal

‘Serious accusations, but not convicted’: SC orders release of Kejriwal on interim bail, imposes conditions

New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Friday released Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on interim bail till June 1 in view of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, noting that while serious accusations have been made against him, “he has not been convicted”.

“Arvind Kejriwal is the Chief Minister of Delhi and a leader of one of the national parties. No doubt, serious accusations have been made, but he has not been convicted. He does not have any criminal antecedents. He is not a threat to the society. The investigation in the present case has remained pending since August 2022,” a bench headed by Justice Sanjiv Khanna said in its order,

The bench, also comprising Justice Dipankar Datta, said that ongoing general elections prompted it to release CM Kejriwal on interim bail, adding that while examining the question of grant of interim bail, the courts always take into consideration the peculiarities associated with the person in question and the surrounding circumstances.

Rejecting the ED’s contention that the grant of interim relief on account of elections would place the politicians in a beneficial position compared to ordinary citizens, the top court said that the Lok Sabha polls were the “most significant and important event this year” and to ignore the same would be iniquitous and wrong.

It held that the situation cannot be compared with a farmer or a businessman who wishes to pursue his vocation.

In an affidavit filed on Thursday, the Enforcement Director (ED) said that giving differential treatment to a politician for campaigning would breach the principles of Article 14 for the reason that harvesting for a farmer would be an equally important factor for seeking interim bail as would a board meeting or an annual general meeting for a director of a company who commits a crime.

Meanwhile, the court also ordered that Kejriwal, while out on interim bail, will not visit his office or the Secretariat and will not sign official files unless it is required and necessary for obtaining clearance/approval of the Lt Governor of Delhi.

“He will not make any comment with regard to his role in the present case, and he will not interact with any of the witnesses and/or have access to any official files connected with the case,” it said.

It clarified that the grant of interim relief should not be treated as an expression of opinion on the merits of the case or the criminal appeal which is pending before the Supreme Court.

Kejriwal., who has been arrested by the ED in the excise policy case, would be freed on interim bail after furnishing a Rs 50,000 bail bond with a surety of the like amount to the satisfaction of the Jail Superintendent.

As per the SC order, the AAP supremo is required to surrender to jail authorities on June 2.

Hindi Website